An Taisce granted leave for a further Judicial Review case on Corrib Gas Pipeline

26th May 2011
Press Release

In a Departmental letter issued on Feb 25th 2011, as Minister for DCENR Pat Carey was losing his seat during the polling in the General election; it was indicated that the Minister was granting consent to the new Section 40 (Gas Act 1976 as amended) and Plan of Development (Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960) consents applied for by Shell E & P Ireland limited for the Corrib Pipeline development.

Just this week, An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland, was granted leave by Mr Justice Peart in the High Court to pursue a Judicial Review of these decisions.

This is a further case, following on the Judicial Review being pursued by An Taisce against a decision for the same pipeline, but on the consent granted by An Bord Pleanála in January of this year.

“An Taisce is not anti-development or anti-Corrib – we simply wish to see the development done and consents granted in accordance with European Law; and are concerned with the implications the approach to consents taken here by the Department will have for other decisions and developments if not challenged.” – stated Charles Stanley-Smith, Chair of An Taisce.

He added: “If these decisions are later found by the European Court of Justice to be non-compliant with European Legislation – then the Irish state, (and consequently the Irish taxpayer), could be liable to fines of several million Euro. There is a huge irony in the Irish taxpayer having this potential liability given the benefit to the taxpayer from the Corrib Gas field and other such resources has been so compromised by the decisions and terms granted by successive Governments to multi-nationals. Earlier this year the Commission has signalled it is losing patience with Ireland, and has sought the imposition of fines for non-compliance for the first time. Given that we have such an appalling track record on compliance – this could end up being a major issue for the Irish taxpayer. It is better that we address and manage any issues with the decisions within our own jurisdiction and minimise our liability. We consider this case to be in the public interest.”

“We are concerned about non-compliance with a number of EU directives – not limited to the Birds, Habitats and Environmental Impact Assessment Directives – all critical pieces of legislation from an Environmental Management point of view. Our environment is our single greatest asset in conjunction with our people, it drives our Agri-Food and Tourism industries on which so many jobs depend. We simply cannot afford to see the rule of law eroded which protects the environment for all of us and future generations.”

Mr Stanley-Smith concluded by adding that: “An Taisce would like to add its appreciation for the outstanding efforts and commitment of our legal team for these cases: Marilyn McNicholas & Co Solicitors, Castlebar, Co Mayo, Mr James Devlin Senior Counsel, and Mr Oisin Collins, Barrister at Law – without whom we could not even dream to pursue these cases. Those wishing to support us in these cases can find donation details on our website www.AnTaisce.ie.

Ends:

For further comment contact: Charles Stanley-Smith, Chairperson of An Taisce: 087 2411995